Friday, 23 September 2011

How Nana used to make


For a while now, I’ve been searching for a raspberry bun recipe to recreate one of the treats that my Nana used to make. My Nana and Grandad had a set of cake tins which stacked on top of each other, each housing a different home made treat, whether it was rock buns, raspberry buns, or what we called “pasty jam cake cakes”. Of all of those it was the raspberry buns which has stuck in my head. The texture was crumbly, but not too dry, and each was dusted with sugar to give a lovely crust. There was always just enough raspberry jam on the inside, and we were always warned about eating them when they were too hot as the jam could burn your mouth.
I tried asking my Mum about the recipe, and she thought my Nana could have used a rock bun recipe, but wasn’t sure. I do remember making them, and the dough was pliable and you could easily wrap it round the jam to seal it in, and to me, a rock bun recipe wouldn’t do this. Via the internet I found a recipe which could work – and set about it with the hope of creating Nana’s raspberry buns.
Taken straight from the fantastic blog The English Kitchen:

225g of self raising flour (a scant 2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
75g of butter (a scant 1/3 cup)
75g of caster sugar (a scant 1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
a little milk
raspberry jam

To glaze:
a little extra milk
a little extra sugar

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a large baking tray. Set aside.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Drop in the butter and then rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips, rubbing until the mixture resembles dry bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Beat the egg and stir it into the flour mixture with a fork, along with just enough milk to make a soft dough. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Flatten the ball and place a dab of jam in the middle of each. Bring the edges of the dough up around the jam to cover it completely enclosing it. Flatten slightly and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Brush each with a bit of milk and sprinkle with more sugar.
Bake in the heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Scoop off onto a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before tucking in as hot jam can really give you a nasty burn!
One of Tim’s memories was of cornflake crispy cakes that his Grandma would make. Since moving house, and re-discovering all the cooking books we have my attention was turned towards a rather battered copy of the Ladybird publication We Can Cook for something similar. I used to make a few things from this book all the time years ago, but mainly an adapted version of their “Golden Crunchies”. This was adapted by adding chocolate. This gave the resulting cakes a different, gooey texture than the normal chocolate crispy cake type things.
I’d made a batch recently when Tim asked if the next time I made them I could also include desiccated coconut since that was how his Grandma made them.
1 rounded tbsp sugar
2 cups cornflakes (or enough until the mixture looks right!)
25g margarine/butter
2 rounded tbsp golden syrup
100g milk chocolate
1 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut
Melt the margarine/butter in a pan with the sugar, syrup and chocolate.
Mix in the coconut then stir the chocolaty mixture through the cornflakes. Divide into paper cake cases.
Both the resulting cakes were how we remember them. The raspberry buns were the correct flavour  (thanks English Kitchen!), although the texture was a little more dry then I remember (possible gluten-free flour), and the crispy cakes were spot on it seems.
This got me thinking that all these recipes and ways of cooking need to be written down somewhere. Our Grandparents are no longer here to ask, as these things are all memories from our childhoods, which might have bypassed a generation of our parents.
I will be looking out for one of those stack-able cake tins, asking cousins and my Mum about things they remember Nana and Grandad making, and the next thing to try making (and to blog) is those pastry jam cake cakes! Yum!

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